Blog Entries Blog Entries Tue, 29 Mar 2011 07:15:07 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Commercial insurance prices remain flat

Commercial insurance prices remained flat for the eighth consecutive quarter, according to Towers Watson's most recent Commercial Lines Insurance Pricing Survey (CLIPS).

At the same time, accident-year loss ratios deteriorated relative to the same period in the prior 12 months.

More specifically, the study found that commercial insurance prices fell by 1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010. The survey compares prices charged on policies underwritten during the fou [...] Sun, 27 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 professional liability insurance directors and officers liability commercial property commercial insurance Cash Time and technology worry CFOs the most

What do CFOs worry about the most?  What's their biggest challenge?

The answer: time management and keeping up with changing technology, according to a study from Robert Half Management Resources.

What's more, previous studies done in 2006 and 2001 show that these areas have been top-of-mind-challenges for quite a while.

The research asked CFOs, "In your opinion, which one of the following is the greatest challenge for financial executives [...] Thu, 24 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 time management Technology financial executives CFOs career/management Cracking down on travel (T&E) spend

One of the many areas that companies have focused on for cost-cutting initiatives is spend on travel and entertainment (T&E). Manual T&E management is one of the largest drivers of inefficiency as it reduces visibility, accuracy and timeliness of spend information, according to a survey by Paystream Advisors.

Moving away from manual processes and onto an automated spend management system can help not just large firms with complex [...] Thu, 24 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Technology Finance and accounting outsourcing to grow 15-20 percent Finance and accounting outsourcing is surging once again.

Annual contract value (ACV) for this specialized category of outsourcing is expected to grow by 15 percent to 20 percent this year, to more than $4 billion, according to the Everest Group.

This growth comes on the heels of a 15 percent increase in 2010, suggesting the market is surging once again.

In 2008 and 2009, ACV growth was closer to 10 percent, reflecting the weaker overall economy.

N [...] Thu, 24 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Record to Report R2R Procure to Pay P2P outsourcing Order to Cash O2C Finance and accounting outsourcing Cash Careers/Management 401(k) matching still slow to return: Study

As the economy continues to improve and the stock market continues on its upward path, employees no doubt are wondering whether their companies are planning to restore their matches for 401(k) plans.

A new comprehensive study by Grant Thornton, however, does not shed much encouragement for workers.

Just 30 percent said they are planning to reinstate previously eliminated or reduced matching contributions during 2011. On the other hand, 42 percent do not have plans to reins [...] Wed, 23 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Grant Thornton Cash Careers/Management 401k Stock buybacks are back

Stock buybacks are staging a comeback...sort of.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, total value of share repurchases by S&P 500 companies surged 80.6 percent to $86.36 billion from the comparable period the previous year, according to Standard & Poor's. It was also up 8.6 percent from the third quarter of 2010.

For all of 2010, there was $298.8 billion worth of buybacks, up 117.1 percent from $137.6 billion in 2009.

The hot buyback action has continued into [...] Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 stock options Standard & Poor's S&P; 500 Cash buybacks Costly malicious data breaches on the rise

Malicious or criminal attacks on data are on the rise--and so are their costs.

Those are some of the findings of the 2010 US Cost of a Data Breach study from the Ponemon Institute. The benchmark study looked at the experiences of 51 US companies in 15 industry sectors; it's the sixth annual such survey done by Ponemon.

According to Ponemon, for the first time, malicious or criminal attacks are the most expensive cause of data breaches. Some 31 percent of all cases i [...] Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Risk encryption data breaches cost per compromised record Moody’s encourages Limited to borrow

Limited Brands said it will sell $750 million in 10-year notes. The company said it intends to use the proceeds to repurchase $500 million of stock under a new share repurchase program and for general corporate purposes.

The move seemed to surprise some commentators. But investors applauded the move, bidding up the stock by more than 1 percent when it began trading Tuesday morning.

The transactions, however, were seemingly encouraged by Moody's Investors Service.

A [...] Sun, 20 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Moody's Investors Service default rate default debt-rating agencies Deals credit-rating agencies Credit Ratings Cash Corporate bond market heating up again Equity investors are not the only ones who have become more comfortable with taking on risk in the aftermath of the earth-quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and anti-government demonstrations in the Middle East.

A number of corporations are once again ramping up debt offerings after many companies abruptly postponed sales last week.

On Monday morning alone, for example, SunTrust Banks said it would sell $1 billion in new senior unsecured debt. It plans to use the proceeds, al [...] Sun, 20 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 TARP debt corporate bonds Cash Do "entrepreneurial" public companies create more jobs?

We've heard a lot about how high-growth startups generate more jobs than other small businesses. Now there's evidence so-called entrepreneurial public companies create more employment than other firms of the same size.

The findings are from research by Joel Shulman, an associate professor at Babson College who also runs a newly created mutual fund called EntrepreneurShares Mutual Fund . It invests in 400 companies defined as entrepreneurial according to 15 core factors, [...] Thu, 17 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Risk entrepreneurial companies employment growth Apple Manufacturing CFOs report skill shortage U.S. manufacturers are planning to boost hiring and capital expenditures this year. However, they warned they may not bring on as many people as they would like to. Why?

They are having trouble finding qualified candidates. They say there is a shortage of skilled machine operators and welders.

Manufacturers are also concerned about the increase in health insurance costs.

These are some of the findings from a recent survey of 80 financial executives representing U.S.-based ma [...] Thu, 17 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 research and development manufacturing health insurance CFOs Careers/Management capital expenditures capex PCAOB chairman warns of auditor disciplinary actions The chairman of the PCAOB said auditors of financial companies that contributed to the financial crisis several years ago are now the subject of pending PCAOB investigations and may lead to disciplinary actions against firms or individuals.

"The PCAOB inspected the audits of many of the issuers that later failed or received federal bail-out funds," said PCAOB chairman James Doty at a PCAOB Investor Advisory Group Meeting on Wednesday. "In several cases - including audits [...] Wed, 16 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Sarbanes-Oxley PCAOB compliance auditors Class action settlements at decade low

It looks like investors have become a lot less litigious.

According to Cornerstone Research, the number of securities class action settlements approved in 2010 was the lowest in more than 10 years.

There were just 86 court-approved securities class action settlements in 2010, down 15 percent from 2009. The total dollar value of settlements declined by more than 17 percent, from $3.8 billion in 2009 to $3.1 billion in 2010.

As a result, the average settlement amo [...] Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Stanford Law School settlement Securities Class Action Clearinghouse Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ecurities class action settlements Cornerstone Research compliance Japan's nuclear disaster puts new spotlight on clean tech

The devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear-power disaster in Japan are forcing a new look at the efficacy and safety of nuclear energy. Not so long ago, the Obama administration committed to boosting nuclear power. Now countries like Germany are saying they're reassessing their policies.

The gravity of these issues lends a particular urgency to new findings about venture capital investment in clean technology, as well as the state of the clean energy industry. Tue, 15 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Risk nuclear power clean technology clean tech Audit execs embrace Sarbanes-Oxley

Since the day it became law in the summer of 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley has always had a chorus of critics and should even be dismantled.

It's too expensive, too over-reaching, not well thought out, encourages companies to list overseas, doesn't really reign in fraud. Pick your reason for disdaining to governance rules.

However, as we approach the ninth anniversary, it looks like most people who actually have to deal with SOX on a day-to-day basis have settled in and hav [...] Mon, 14 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Grant Thornton compliance Cloud Computing chief audit executives auditors audit Companies will foot the bill for personal income tax reform

Companies can expect few incentives to come out of tax reform efforts this year, according to corporate tax specialists, as the Obama administration and legislators focus on how to pay for personal income tax reforms and benefits.

Those companies that held any hopes that the coming year would bring some tax relief will be disappointed, according to corporate tax advisers.

Rather, the administration is continuing to look [...] Sun, 13 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Tax compliance Why three-way proxy battles are rare

Three-way proxy battles are very unusual. In fact, they are so unusual dissidents frequently go out of their way to avoid them.

This is what happened in a single day last week.

Casablanca Capital withdrew its slate of three director candidates for election to the board of Mentor Graphics at the May annual meeting, pledging its support for Carl Icahn's three-person slate.

On that same day, Immersion announced it had settled with Dialectic Capital Management, [...] Sun, 13 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 proxy fight hedge funds dissident Deals annual meetings Move to boost credit unions' small business lending--redux

Small business borrowing has been on an increase, something I wrote about recently. Fact is, however, the real heroes of small business lending over the past three tough years have been credit unions, which upped their lending, while bigger banks mostly pulled the plug on it.

Now there's about to be a bill in the Senate increasing the amount credit unions are allowed to lend to small businesses.

Only it's the second time around for this legislation, so the futu [...] Thu, 10 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 small business lending credit unions compliance Why directors, comp committees are under attack 1

This is why boards of directors-especially compensation committees-are under attack.

When Steve Odland resigned as Office Depot's chairman and CEO last fall, the company's stock surged 9 percent on the same day.

Anthony Chukumba, a senior research analyst with BB&T Capital Markets, told Reuters: "This is a relief rally. It has 100 percent to do with the CEO leaving. He cited "a series of strategic and financial missteps" such as missing ea [...] Thu, 10 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 severance packages severance Regulation FD Reg FD compensation committee compensation Cash Careers/Management boards board of directors GM CFO Liddell to leave April 1

Chris Liddell announced that he will leave General Motors on April 1.

In a press release Thursday morning, the company stressed  Liddell is stepping down after completing the largest public stock offering in history and stabilizing the company's financial operations.

 Liddell joined the car maker in January, 2010 and led the company's financial and accounting operations on a global basis.  

"Chris was a major contributor during a pivota [...] Wed, 09 Mar 2011 23:00:00 +0100 Treasurer GM General Motors CFO resignations CFO Careers/Management